Business Development Bank of Canada
Seize the Technological Advantage: Why Digitally Mature Companies Perform Better
This Ontario company’s digital transformation underscores the significant benefits of investing in technology.
Digitization was the furthest thing from the minds of Lorne and Robin Heise when they launched Heat-Line in 1988. The rural Ontario company based in the Haliburton Highlands was created to help address the problem of freezing pipes in the local cottage country. Starting out in their garage with the couple as the only staff, Lorne and Robin were manually building and testing prototypes of freeze-protected pipes.
“I remember my wife and I rolling pipes from our garage down a dirt road, so that we could put a heating cable inside, and then rolling them back into the garage. Then we’d put them up for sale,” recalls Lorne Heise, President and CEO, Heat-Line.
But as the company grew, the couple realized they could no longer run the business manually. The couple made important investments in technology to improve production capacity and integrate their systems. These investments culminated with the selection of their very first enterprise management planning (ERP) system.
The ERP helped streamline processes, enabling employees to focus on building products rather than managing paper-based tracking tools. As a result, Heat-Line saw a 40% increase in sales and an almost doubling of its revenue between late 2020 and 2022.
Lorne and Robin were in their early 20s when they left Toronto for the Haliburton Highlands. An electrician by trade, Lorne founded Carnarvon Electrical Contracting Ltd. While his work focused on wiring homes and cottages in the area, he was surprised at how often he was called to repair frozen pipes…